By Tom Precious
ALBANY – Call it The Terminator Amendment.
State officials are looking at amending the state’s new gun control law to make it clear that movie companies filming in New York can continue to use fake assault-style weapons in their productions.
While gun critics say Hollywood has helped glorify gun violence, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said today the special carve-out for movie companies is among the amendments being considered to the gun control law components that includes additional restrictions on ownership of assault-style weapons. [The law will be drawing thousands of demonstrators to the Capitol on Thursday.]
“I don’t know that legally it would even be classified as an assault weapon if it’s a phony gun, but people want certainty, and …there’s no reason not to make a change like that to give people and the industry certainty, especially when it’s an industry we want to be doing business in the state,’’ Cuomo said.
The state gives tens of millions of dollars a year in tax breaks to lure movie and tv companies to do business in New York. Lawmakers say the film industry has already been lobbying in Albany to get the gun amendment approved; filmmakers, they say, use real assault weapons with fake bullets and want to continue that, in the words of one lawmaker, realism without violating the law.
“We do spend a lot of money in this state bringing movie productions here … so obviously we want to facilitate that,’’ Cuomo told reporters after a meeting with state legislative leaders.
Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, said the movie exemption is one of the “technical’’ amendments being considered to the gun law. Among others, lawmakers say, are exemptions to permit retired police officers to be able to legally possess ammunition magazines larger than the seven bullet maximum capacity provision contained in the new law.